Hillcroft LRC

Brush up Your Shakespeare

Posted on: April 22, 2016

Shakespeare and theatreSaturday 23 April marks 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare. We’ve been adding new material to our reference section to compliment the bard covering not only Shakespeare himself but his plays, sonnets and the theatre.

To start off we have William Shakespeare: a Very Short Introduction by Stanley Wells which is one from our favourite Oxford University Press series. It’s a great introduction to Shakespeare’s life, work and the different types of plays he wrote from comedies to tragicomedies and tragedies. Next we have The Shakespeare Book edited by Satu Fox. This one is a Dorling Kindersley book listing each play with a plot summary, a timeline outlining the key parts of the plot and dramatis personae (list of characters) and an ‘in Context’ section exploring themes, origins of the material and the impact of the play. The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare by Michael Dobson and Stanley Wells is an alphabetical listing of the plays and characters, themes, plots and famous actors who played the roles. Lastly The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare By Albert F Kinney is for the more serious student of Shakespeare and holds chapters dedicated to issues in Shakespearean studies from the versions of the text, to interpretation of the works, issues within them and transfer of the material from stage to film and television.

You cannot study Shakespeare without looking at theatre so we have Theatre: a Very Short Introduction by Marvin Carlson to help you put the history plays and others into context. In addition we have the Oxford Guide to Plays by Michael Patterson which acts like a dictionary listing the plays alphabetically. Each entry summarises the plot, gives you the playwright’s name, when it was written, when and where it was first performed, categorises them by genre and tells you when and where it is set. There is also an index of playwrights and characters. Last but not least the Oxford Dictionary of Plays by Michael Patterson lists plays from around the world alphabetically and organises them by country and historical period. Basically a larger version of Oxford Guide to Plays.

There is a special Saturday night on television  Shakespeare Live! From the RSC on 23 April at 2030 which will be available on the iPlayer after the broadcast. A host of stars perform snippets from Shakespeare. Find out more on the BBC Shakespeare Special page about other programmes celebrating the anniversary.

Interested in studying more about Shakespeare? How about joining one of these Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) I found on the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s website. If you don’t fancy that there’s a free exhibition of primary sources you can examine on Shakespeare Documented. Great for students and teachers!

 

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